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Colorado work fatalities involve vehicles 39% of the time: Study

Car crash

Motor vehicle accidents account for 39% of the workplace fatalities in Colorado, likely because workers in certain professions are increasingly on the road as part of their jobs, according to claims data released Tuesday by Pinnacol Assurance Inc.

Denver-based Pinnacol, which is Colorado’s largest workers compensation insurer, recently analyzed the collective impact of motor vehicle accidents on workers, finding that such claims over the past five years have cost the insurer $173 million, with most accidents happening between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., with Monday being especially dangerous and accidents peaking between July and September.

The data, which covers accidents between 2007 and 2017, also found that motor vehicles have been responsible for 133 fatalities since then, 89% of the accidents involve other cars, 26% of accidents involved people not wearing seatbelts, and 42% of motor vehicle claims involve drivers with less than one year on the job.

Pinnacol, which covers about 60% of the businesses in the state, noted they receive around 1,500 motor vehicle accident-related claims every year. The most common types of workers at risk for motor vehicle accidents were health care workers, truckers and noncommercial drivers such as chauffeurs and messengers, auto servicers and police officers, the insurer reported.

“Whether it’s health workers driving to clinic sites or patient homes or office workers simply driving across town to a meeting or for a work errand, it’s clear employees in nonprofessional driving roles are driving more often,” said Jim McMillen, Pinnacol Assurance’s director of safety services in a statement. “We are also distracted by technology more than ever, and this confluence of factors is important for employers to manage.”

Acknowledging strides in safety programs statewide, Mr. McMillen added that special attention needs to be paid to drivers.

“Defensive driving training should be part of any risk management program in which employees must drive for work, even if they’re not considered professional drivers or are driving their personal vehicles,” he said. “The truth is, most of us could stand to take more driving training, and we should always, under all circumstances, put our smartphones away and wear seatbelts.”




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